After exchanging punches with Winning Shadow and world champion Mission Accepted in recent weeks, Killer Instinct was the star of the show on Sunday (March 19) at MGM Northfield Park, launching a three-wide bid off the final turn on his way to an 8-1 upset in the co-featured $19,000 Open Handicap Trot.
Predator And Prey got the jump on rivals pushing the gate away and opening up a 1-1/2-length lead into the backstretch. Winning Shadow wasted no time going after the leader, crossing over past the quarter in :27.1.
Winning Shadow tapped the breaks, but Aaron Merriman would have none of it, as he guided Icanflylikeanangel to the outside, making a bid for the lead at the half in :56.4. Into the backstretch for the final time, Winning Shadow was able to put away Icanflylikeanangel past three-quarters in 1:25, but the daunting presence of Killer Instinct was lurking as Hunter Myers made his move.
Turning for home, Winning Shadow gave way to Killer Instinct, who drew off in the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.1. Tequila Talkin was fifth around the last turn, closed gamely to be second while Icanflylikeanangel dug in for third.
"He [Killer Instinct] is little but mighty; he consistently gives everything he has each week," said Myers of the talented trotter.
It was the third victory in five starts for Killer Instinct, who has earned $56,191 as a five-year-old for Corey Hendricks and co-owner and trainer Melanie O'Donnell.
Two races later, Hunter Myers found himself in the winner's circle again with Odds On Osiris, closing up the passing lane to win the $19,000 Open Pace in 1:51.2.
Odds On Osiris left alertly from post five, crossing over mid-way through the first turn. Heavy favourite Bernie made a big move before the quarter in :27, and crossed over quickly in front of Odds On Osiris.
Merriman sent Speedy Dominic A to the outside, coming to the half, bringing San Domino A with him as they attempted to take on Bernie, who got to the contested half in :55.4.
Bernie continued to fight off Speedy Dominic A up the backstretch to three-quarters in 1:22.4 and, around the final turn, put away his foe. Turning into the stretch, Bernie dug in gamely, but Odds On Osiris had fresher legs, getting up in the shadow of the wire to win by a neck. Speedy Dominic A held off Backseat Joker for show.
It was the fourth victory of the year for the son of Rockin Image, who has now earned $40,344 this season for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura. Ron Burke conditions the 2020 Carl Milstein Memorial winner. He paid $6.80 to win.
The Pick 6 went unsolved on Sunday evening. The non-jackpot 50-cent wager that kicks off in Race 8 will sport a carryover of $1,159.17 on Tuesday (March 21).
Live racing resumes on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. (EDT). MGM Northfield Park currently races on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.